How to Exterminate Bed Bugs at Home Yourself
Where do bed bugs come from?
Bed bugs most notoriously hitch rides on luggage, but traveling isn’t the only way to pick them up. They can easily be carried into the house on secondhand furniture, clothing, boxes, and pillows, so inspect such items very carefully. Encasement products like Good Housekeeping Seal holder AllerEase mattress protector can also prevent bugs that do make it inside from hunkering down in crevices.
What are bed bugs attracted to?
Whether you have a messy home or a neat home, bed bugs only care that their food source, a.k.a. people, are nearby. Luckily, there’s no evidence they transmit diseases as they feed. The real threat: itchy, red bites, which are the first sign of an infestation.
Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control
You may have to follow these steps more than once to kill all the bugs and their eggs
- Identify the Problem , Identify the pest Extension agents can identify the pest at no cost to you. They are trained in pest control and know your local area.
- If an extension agent or other expert says the pest is a bed bug, notify your landlord if you live in an apartment. The units near yours should be inspected..Check the housing codes and laws in your area.
- Inspect all areas that may have bed bugs, plus surrounding living spaces, to find out the extent of infestation.
Develop a Strategy
- Make a schedule for completing the steps below. Be sure to include any personal plans, such as vacations.
- Keep records through the whole process. Note the dates and exact locations where pests are found. This will help you track progress and better know where to target your work.
- Keep checking for at least a year after you’re done to make sure all the bed bugs are gone.
Prepare for Treatment
Preparing for treatment is very important; it will make it easier to monitor for bed bugs that haven’t been eliminated. This preparation should be completed whether you are doing the treatment yourself or hiring a professional.
Bed Bug Inspection Check List
The Mattress and Box Spring
Check the mattress thoroughly, paying close attention to seams and tufts along the edges. Flip the mattress over and inspect the bottom carefully as well. Pay particular attention to any rips in the fabric. View the fabric on the bottom of the box spring and shine a flashlight to verify that bed bugs have not penetrated the interior of the box spring.
Bed Frame and Head and Foot Boards
Remove the mattress and box frame from the bed frame and shine a flashlight all along every potential hiding place on the bed frame. Remember bed bugs can slip into a crack a business card can fit into.
Other Furniture: Desks, Chairs, Dressers, etc
Take out all drawers and cushions from surrounding furniture. Check all seams and crevices carefully with a flashlight. Take your time and inspect it thoroughly. Bed Bugs are commonly found in these areas in an infested room.
Walls and Carpet
Inspect the surrounding walls by removing electrical switch plates and any wall hangings. Check under tack strips and behind baseboards where ever possible. Shine light into cracks in plaster and seams along wall paper.
Electronics and Other Applicances
Unfortunately electronics and appliances provide a perfect hiding spot for bed bugs. Check them closely with a flashlight and magnifying glass as well. Remove them when possible
Preparing a Room for Bed Bug Treatment
Before you begin your own bed bug treatment, you will need to prepare the room or rooms where bed bugs have been found, in addition to rooms that share walls with the infested rooms. Remove any items in the room that you absolutely cannot treat or that have already been treated. Cover items that will be removed from the room in plastic bags before moving to the next room to prevent any unseen bed bug from infesting another room. Remove any paintings or art from the walls. Be sure to thoroughly check any item that is removed from the room to prevent bed bugs from being transferred from room to room.
If you have a mattress that is heavily infested, we recommend covering it with a bed bug proof mattress cover or bed bug mattress encasement before moving. You will also need to cover your box spring with a box spring encasement. If your mattress needs to be disposed of and replaced, be sure to cover the mattress with plastic before disposing to protect sanitation workers. Labeling a mattress or covering with “Bed Bugs” is also helpful. Infested sheets, linens, and garments should be washed and then dried in a household dryer on high heat (over 120 degrees F), as the heat will kill bed bugs. Any garments that cannot be washed may need to be dry-cleaned or discarded as insecticides cannot be used on these materials. If stuffed animals, books, or soft toys are infested, place those items in an air-tight bin along with vapor strips to kill the bed bugs.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Suck those babies up with a strong vacuum cleaner and a powerful hose attachment. You should probably vacuum at least every few days while battling an infestation. Be thorough and use the vacuum on the mattress, bedding, and soft furniture, like sofas and cushy chairs.
For places the vacuum can’t reach, steam cleaning is an option. The heat will kill the bedbugs and eggs, and they will die when exposed to temperatures exceeding 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow the steam cleaner’s instructions carefully to avoid damaging your furniture.
Washing All Clothes and Bedding
Check your labels to make sure the fabrics can tolerate hot water and tumble drying. Then wash everything that’s been exposed to these critters. The combination of hot water and dryer heat will help kill off the colony.
The little packets you find in food products and shoe boxes to keep the contents dry could also help kill off insects. To use them, grind up the beads and spread the powder around the source areas. If you’ve got kids or pets, you may want to avoid this technique, as direct exposure and silica inhalation is harmful. Instead, opt for baking soda, which has a similar effect.
Pour it in a spray bottle and spritz away. The alcohol will kill bugs on contact.
Scented Dryer Sheets
The smell from the dryer sheets can repel the insects and even encourage them to seek out other spots to inhabit. However, this solution is likely best used as a temporary one, because they’ll just find a more hospitable place in your home to hang out.
If you’re in a hurry to get to sleep and you don’t have days to wait for these other solutions to take effect, blast your hair dryer over the affected areas. The heat will kill the bugs and allow you to go to sleep without having to worry about being someone’s dinner.
Run a stiff brush along the mattress seams. This will dislodge any clinging bed bugs and eggs that resist the suction of a vacuum cleaner.
Wrap this along the circumference of the bedposts along the floor. That way, as bugs try to climb up into bed with you, they’ll get stuck at base camp. Make sure you don’t sabotage your efforts by dragging blankets across the floor. If you neglect to keep blankets, pillows, and clothing off the floor, then don’t be surprised if the more enterprising bugs hitch a ride.
You already know that baking soda absorbs moisture in the refrigerator, but did you know that it also sucks moisture out of bed bugs’ bodies? To use this powder, spread it wherever find bugs, including cracks and crevices. Be sure to vacuum and reapply every few days.
This product is a miracle against all types of bugs, including fleas. It’s made from naturally occurring sedimentary rock that’s crumbled into a fine powder. To use it successfully, spread it all over the floor and in cracks and crevices. It can take up to 10 days to work, but the fine powder has tiny shards that kill insects.
We don’t suggest putting it on your mattress, as tempting as it may sound. The reason is that those shards, though microscopic, can get into your lungs and cause damage.